The annual SEMA (Specialty Equipment Marketers Show), held in Las Vegas during the first week of November every year, is inarguably the planet's largest and most spectacular exhibition of custom, hot rod and race cars and all the bits and pieces used to build them.
Alas, it's off limits for hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts who would otherwise rank it high on their bucket lists. It's a "trade only" event, restricted to those in the business.
But all is not lost. For several years, there has been an unofficial parade exiting the Las Vegas Convention Center when the show closes at 4 PM on Friday (November 7 this year).
The SEMA Cruise has now become the official closing event to the show, allowing thousands of spectators to witness a rolling car exhibition of many of the show's participants.
In addition, this year marks the inaugural "SEMA Ignited" event, where vehicles from the 2014 SEMA show will be accessible to the public, near the Las Vegas Strip, until 10 PM on Friday.
After four days behind closed doors, visible only to industry professionals, hundreds of cars and trucks from the SEMA Show will roll out of the Convention Center for the SEMA Cruise and, for the first time ever, assemble at the “SEMA Ignited” extravaganza, which will include food, music, celebrities, iconic builders and displays.
The event will give the public, media, exhibitors, attendees and guests an opportunity to take and share images of vehicles they weren't able to access in the SEMA Show.
The Friday night event will also serve as the backdrop for nationwide media coverage, including on-site taping for a nationally televised broadcast special, and the “best of show” awards. It will include food trucks, music, entertainment, automotive celebrities, builders and more.
More than 125 builders and customizers have entered the first-ever SEMA Battle of the Builders competition. Editors from several leading automotive magazines will select the Top Ten builders, who will be announced at the SEMA Show on Tuesday, November 4.
Those ten finalists will then judge each other and vote to determine the ultimate winner in the 2014 SEMA Battle of the Builders, which will be the subject of the television broadcast.